The study involved a stated preference survey to investigate household-level preferences of cooking fuels and stoves; the survey included 200 households in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 564 households in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and 402 households in Maputo, Mozambique. The research team applied an alternative methodology, discrete choice analysis, which is commonly used in transportation studies, to assess the trade-offs among attributes affecting household cooking choice. The research methodology included focus group discussions with key stakeholders as well as individual interviews, to validate the model and to identify any significant social, cultural and local attributes that may have been overlooked in the application of the model.
The findings of this study illustrate the respective roles of socio-economic and product-specific attributes as determinants of stove/fuel choice and permit estimation of the relative strengths of product-specific attributes in determining stove/fuel choice at the household level. Such information is crucial for stove producers, policy-makers and programme developers interested in targeting particular markets since it tells them not only which stove characteristics are important to the consumer, but also by how much the consumer values one stove attribute over another, or how trade-offs are made at the individual level.
This type of market information can be used to accurately target different market segments and design stoves that consumers will actually buy and use. The study argues that product-specific attributes are as important as socio-economic attributes to create a market for clean cooking stoves, and that future research should strike a balance between both types of attributes. In a near-term perspective, product-specific attributes are more important, as socio-economic attributes tend to change slowly, in line with longer-term patterns of economic growth and human development.
The study results demonstrate the insights that can be gained from detailed consumer choice analysis, and how these insights can support policy makers and cooking stove programme designers interested in evaluating markets for new stoves and cooking fuels.